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Congressman Thomas Suozzi

Representing the 3rd District of New York

Suozzi Appointed Chairman of United States Merchant Marine Academy’s Board of Visitors

February 3, 2020
Press Release
Commits to Fight for Improved Infrastructure of the 77-year-old USMMA Kings Point Campus

Today, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D – Long Island, Queens) was named to, and unanimously appointed Chairman of the United States Merchant Marine Academy’s Board of Visitors for the 116th Congress. Suozzi has worked to improve and modernize the infrastructure of the 77-year old institution, which is located in his district, so that it is optimally poised to prepare future generations of merchant mariners. 


Last year’s National Defense Authorization Act included language requiring the Department of Transportation to work with National Academy of Public Administration to complete a modernization study of the USMMA facilities. This year, Suozzi has already sent a letter to the United States Maritime Administrator asking for this study to be expedited, creating a path for facility improvements to begin.


“For more than 75 years the United States Merchant Marine Academy, one of five U.S. service academies, has produced Midshipmen and merchant mariners that have faithfully served our nation in times of war and peace,” said Congressman Suozzi. “I am proud to sit on the Board of Visitors of this historically rich institution and truly honored to be named its Chairman. After years of setbacks, the Merchant Marine Academy is poised for a major turnaround and I am looking forward to working to improve the infrastructure of the campus so it may remain a premier institution for years to come.”


The appointment was announced when the 16 new members of the Board of Visitors convened for their first meeting at the Academy in Kings Point. Suozzi has sat on the Board of Visitors of USMMA, since 2017. 


The USMMA educates and graduates leaders of exemplary character who are committed to serving the national security, maritime transportation, and economic needs of the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces. Board of Visitors members provide oversight on the state of morale and discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, and academic methods of the USMMA, in addition to any other matters relating to USMMA that the Board decides to consider.


Last week, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 5671, the Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act, of which Congressman Suozzi is a cosponsor. This bipartisan legislation will award a Congressional Gold Medal to honor the merchant mariners who proudly served our country during World War II. The medal will be displayed in the American Merchant Mariners Museum in Kings Point. Before the votes, Congressman Suozzi spoke on the House floor, encouraging passage of the legislation which recognizes the bravery and sacrifice of the more than 7000 midshipmen who fought for our country during World War II. His speech can be seen here. 


“The oversight of the Board of Visitors is crucial to the Academy’s success,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby. “The insight generated by its members allows us to provide our midshipmen and faculty with the best academic and professional environment possible.” 


The Board comprises five members appointed by the President; one Senator from the Committee on Appropriations and appointed by the Vice President; two Representatives (one from the Committee on Appropriations) appointed by the Speaker of the House; two Senators appointed by the Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; three Representatives appointed by the Chair of the Committee on Armed Services; and ex-officio members, as described by Federal law.


On Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced the names of the 16 new members of the USMMA Board of Visitors for the 116th Congress:


1. Ms. Jennifer Boykin (USMMA ’86, Presidential appointee, President of Newport News Shipbuilding and Executive Vice President of Huntington Ingalls Industries)

2. Mr. Kevin J. Walsh, (USMMA ’05, Presidential appointee, New Jersey State Pilot at Sandy Hook Pilots Association)

3. Mr. Stephen M. Carmel (USMMA ’79, Presidential appointee, Senior Vice President at Maersk Line, Limited)

4. Vice Adm. Johnny R. Wolfe, Jr., USN (USMMA’88, Presidential appointee, Director of Strategic Systems Programs)

5. Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Volkert, USMC (USMMA ’95, Presidential appointee, Executive Officer, Flight Detachment)

6. Senator Jerry Moran (KS, Vice Presidential appointee)

7. Senator Roger Wicker (MS) (ex officio appointee)

8. Representative Peter T. King (NY-02, Appointed by Speaker of the House)

9. Representative Tom Suozzi (NY-03, Appointed by Speaker of the House)

10. Representative Jack Bergman (MI-01, House Armed Services Committee appointee)

11. Representative Max Rose (NY-11, House Armed Services Committee appointee)

12. Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11, House Armed Services Committee appointee)

13. Representative Adam Smith (WA-09) (ex officio appointee)

14. Rear Adm. Michael A. Wettlaufer, USN (ex officio appointee)

15. Vice Adm. Daniel B. Abel, USCG (ex officio appointee)

16. Dr. Henry S. Marcus, DBA, (ex officio appointee)



The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, N.Y., was established under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 and was dedicated as the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is administered by the Maritime Administration under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Transportation.